The first in my Chaos of Delight series of pieces based on birdsong, Chaos of Delight I requires the bass clarinettiest to trill, click, screech, book and roll in a virtuosic display of avian sonorities, using the full range of the instrument, from the boom of the kakapo to the shriek of the the morepork and the bleat of the bush falcon. All these can be heard amongst sounds which exploit the unique characteristics of the bass clarinet, such as its uncannily high register, slap tonguing and multiphonics.
The title is taken from a passage in A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand by Falla, Gibson and Turbott: “…there are still many quiet places far from the madding crowd, where the mind can become, in Darwin’s phrase, ‘a chaos of delight’ at the abundance and variety of birds which pass before the eye or perplex the ear.”
Chaos of Delight IV continues my series of works inspired by NZ birdsong (Chaos of Delight I for bass clarinet, Chaos of Delight II for soprano, Chaos of Delight III for women’s voices) and in this case is a short, theatrical duo written especially for the talents of my colleagues Luca Manghi and Ben Hoadley. Some more recognizable birdcalls are: the thrush calls played by piccolo; the Paradise Duck in the bassoon; the Kokako played by both in unison and the Little Blue Penguin in the fluttertongued basson.
The work was premiered by the duo on October 22nd, 2008 in Auckland.
In many ways this is a companion piece to an earlier work, Vivid for solo trumpet, which also sets a powerful, sexually charged poem by Will Christie. But where Vivid is very often overtly violent and forceful in its gestures, deepwalker is mostly much subtler, almost passive-aggressive in outlook. The opening lines of the poem – “the day is a drum that connects these vocal loops with grey traffic circles bridge after bridge” – are mirrored in the cyclical, sometimes elliptical form of the work, loops and circles that play between registers of the clarinet. Sexual tension and aggression bubble away in the background, periodically rupturing the musical surface with piercing, angular outbursts, sometimes in parallel with the rather tender, fluid lines of the low register, and with the spoken text itself. This violent interplay creates a kind of disordered internal conversation, a bizarre hermetic character opening and shutting her windows; a clarinet of many voices.
A work composed for Finnish wind quintet Idée Fixe on the request of the group’s clarinetist, Reetta Näätänen. E pari, e te tai translates as tide, flow on, a title that assumed a dark irony when, shortly after completion of the work, the Boxing Day Tsunami struck in the Indian Ocean. Premiered by Idée Fixe in Ikaalinen, Finland 2005.
Gallipoli was composed in memory of the World War I battle that took place between Turkey and Anzacs, symbolizing as a whole, the mutual good relations of the countries of Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, which are in friendly relations in our day. The message given by Turkey’s leader Ataturk after the war was one of humanism and friendship. This is still commemorated by both the ANZACs and the Turks with great importance every year.
The idea of writing this solo work for trumpet was born when Erden Bilgen met the composer in Auckland. It became formalized with the composer’s visit to Gallipoli in 2001 and a subsequent meeting between the two in Istanbul. Written in rhapsodic form in one movement, the music is not intended to interpret the horrors and negative aspects of war, but more the emotions and reflective times of the young ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.) and Turkish troops summoned to war on Turkish ground.
The opening trumpet fanfare is the call to war. In the middle section the composer uses a traditional folk theme from the Turkish region of Canakkale. There is a short cadenza and this version is for wind orchestra, originally full symphony orchestra.